news Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 05:30
  Prominent civil rights activists have come out in support of Sahitya Akademi awardee and Tamil author Joe D’Cruz who is in legal trouble over one of his books. D’Cruz is now facing legal trouble over his 2009 book Korkai after a summons by the Thoothukudi Magistrate over a defamation case alleging the portrayal of the coastal community and Christianity in bad light. A statement released by civil rights activists says that the defamation case against the author is merely an attempt by the petitioner to gain cheap publicity and harass the writer. D’Cruz hails from Uvari, a fishing village in Tirunelveli district, and is acclaimed for his account of the history of fishermen which he chronicled in Korkai. A magistrate court has issued summons in a case of alleged poor depiction of the coastal community, Christianity, priests and nuns in his book. In an interview to The News Minute earlier, D'Cruz had questioned what he called the two-faced approach of those who believed in freedom of speech and had alleged that his support to Narendra Modi was the reason behind his alienation. In April 2014, when D’Cruz wrote a Facebook post in support of then Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, the move apaprently cost him a publishing contract with Delhi-based publisher Navayana who refused to release the English translation of his book, Aazhi Soozh Ulagu (Ocean Ringed World).  Full Text of Statement "Self-styled protectors of morality and religion have risen again to stifle a writer's right to write and, more dangerously, our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression. As the latest target of communal intolerance, Sahitya Akademi awardee and Tamil novelist Joe D'Cruz has been accused of criminal defamation by V. Alangara Bharathavar, general secretary of the Meenavar Viduthalai Iyakkam (Fisherfolk Liberation Organisation) in Thoothukudi. The claim that the novels “Korrkai” and “Aazhi Soozh Ulagu” (Sea Encircled World) offended the Catholic faith is disputable and is one point of view. Novels are works of creative literature and lend themselves to multiple readings. Moreover, both these novels have been in the public domain for several years earning only praise and pride for the fishing community. Written as it is in the Tamil dialect of the South Tamil Nadu fishing community that he is part of, the books should be seen as a valuable addition to Indian literature on a community that is seldom the subject of literary or even non-fictional works. We, the below-signed, extend our fullest support to D'Cruz in his legal battle. We have no doubts that the criminal defamation suit will fail. We also have no doubts that the suit is merely an attempt by the petitioner to gain cheap publicity and harass the writer. Gnani Sankaran T.N. Gopalan V. Geetha Nityanand Jayaraman A. Mangai Prof. V. Arasu T.M. Krishna T. Venkat Anand Patwardhan Dr. Anandhi S. Madhumita Dutta Prema Revathi Leela Samson Dr. Vijay Baskar Prof. Vasanthi Devi Lawrence Surendra Dr. Karen Coelho
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